Breakfast. The most important meal of the day or simply an unimaginative drain on time as you grab for the unfulfilling cereal box yet again?
Whether you have a moment to grab something from the fridge as you walk out of the door; or sit down with a relaxing morning playlist and a cup of coffee in the garden. To me, there is something undeniably satisfying about starting the day with a good breakfast.
It’s almost like maybe you start the day feeling like you have your stuff (polite phrasing there) together after all…even when at most times of our life we are all just winging it. Right!?
Especially that is, for the children. Whilst I sometimes favour a green tea and a later breakfast after the school run, the girls wake up with only one thing on their mind – food! Which I love.
We mostly shun less than nutritious cereal (although shredded wheat and bran flakes do frequent the cupboards and when topped with fruit are a perfectly acceptable balanced breakfast for us) and try to mix up the choices day to day.
To be honest that first meal of the day is mostly centred around fruit. We add fat and protein with nuts, nut butters, oats, yoghurt and a sprinkling of chia seeds or ground flaxseed. But there is no doubt that the majority of our breakfasts (if you forget the moments we make time to rustle up mushrooms on toast or a full veggie breakfast which is the ultimate luxury here) is fruit and carbs. The perfect start to the morning and get ahead with our 5 a day.
Not to forget the coffee. The saying but first coffee was practically made for me. Flat white please.
Without further ado here are our go to 10 Family Friendly Breakfast, mostly easy and made ahead.
I have ordered them with ease and regularity in our house rather than popularity because if the latter were the case, wouldn’t pastries always be on the top of the list?
1 – Breakfast Slice
Since finding this recipe in the So Vegan in 5 cookbook I have made breakfast slice (or named merely ‘slice’ in this house, thus confusing anyone offered a ‘slice of slice’ that isn’t down with the lingo) every single week since. At least once! The children in particular absolutely love it.
The original recipe calls for oats, nut butter, coconut oil and maple syrup with a ‘jam’ made from raspberries. I can however confirm that any fruit will do! I have created it with various fruit combinations from what I have in the fridge. It’s actually great for using up fruit just before shop day and using seasonal fruit like the abundance of strawberries we have in June when only strawberry picking would do. Blackberries in September and plums and apples as the nights draw in. It’s a brilliant way to transition the seasons and explain to the girls why too. I’ve also used frozen fruit, and left over chia jam (also from the same cookbook) which works just as well.
We tried our hand at making individual portions which would mean the children can grab one themselves easily. They were fun and do the trick but we did all prefer the texture you get with that infamous ‘slice of slice’ so quickly reverted back. But it would work for on the go breakfast for sure. The extra effort to have to slice your our own portion in the morning is totally worth it. Though it doesn’t last long as we could easily get through two a week!
2 – Overnight Oats
Here we have the easiest of make ahead breakfasts. With Eddy almost always leaving the house before we even open our eyes in the morning it is fantastic for him to take with him on the road aswell as having a ready to go option for the children to feel self sufficient. And me to have time for the millions of job that frequent my morning. Oh to be that night before packed lunch type of person!
Roma does call it cold porridge which makes it sound a little less appealing but if you can get past the preconception that porridge should be steaming hot and topped with jam, it is such a hearty, healthy, junk free option. We mostly keep it simple with 50g whole rolled oats (really important for texture to use the whole, otherwise it can seem a bit mushy and unappetising) the milk of choice for said person (covering all allergy and preference bases) poured to just cover the oats. The consistency is a personal preference but I never measure, just pour and hope for the best. We usually throw in a teaspoon of chia or flax seeds for nutrition.
There are so many fancy flavours and combinations out there to try but we tend to add in raisins (they swell SO big and juicy overnight) throw in a handful of blueberries, chopped hazelnuts (emitting for the child who is allergic or the husband who takes it to work in a nut free world) then come the morning top with any fresh fruit you fancy and on occasion a glug of maple syrup.
What is also great is that you can make ahead of time and it will keep in the fridge for a few days so if I make it for the children and they choose a different breakfast? No sweat, it will save for another day, no fuss or waste to be had.
3 – Chia Pudding
Chia pudding has become by far my favourite. A simple go to, make in advance kind of breakfast (can you see a theme here?) I prepare a large jar which will keep in the fridge for a week. Scoop it out whenever you are in need of a breakfast or even a healthy afternoon pick me up.
I make the Chia pudding (1 tbsp chia seeds 100ml milk) with coconut milk from a carton just because I prefer the delicate flavour but you can combine it with whatever milk/liquid you choose. It is apparently good with smoothie mixtures for that depth of flavour. Something I am yet to try. Just ensure when you first prepare the mixture that it’s combined really well and stir after about an hour to prevent the seeds from clumping together. Nobody wants a lumpy breakfast.
Usually I serve it with a spoonful of yoghurt, whatever fruit I have and a sprinkling of granola for crunch. With Chia pudding the texture is definitely different and something to get used to but if you can get over the fact it looks a little like frog spawn; it is very nutritious, easy and tasty.
You can find all manner of delightful combinations (and stunning photos) on Pinterest if it becomes your family breakfast or snack of choice.
4 – Smoothie Bowl
Sounds exotic and too complicated doesn’t it? It may look impressive (even if I do say so myself) but it’s merely a ‘throw things in a bowl et voila’ type of situation here! Basically just levelling up of the fruit and yoghurt I guess.
Eat fruit, but make it pretty!
Naturally the base is a smoothie. We make with frozen mixed berries which I buy in a bag, and frozen bananas which I freeze when they over ripen in the fruit bowl. Just chop them up into a freezer container and they are good to go whenever you need it. I use a nutri-bullet with some soya milk (or water/milk/juice of your choice) and due to the frozen nature it is almost like a smoothie-sorbet hybrid. Perfect for a base. You could use any smoothie recipe you have, add oats, nut butter, flaxseed, vegetables, anything fro that extra nutrition hit.
The smoothie is topped with whatever you like either having strips of each ingredient (how my children like it) or use the smoothie as a puddle/soup base (how I like it). We serve with yoghurt or kefir, granola, dried fruit and nuts like raisins, apricots and flaked almonds, fresh fruit, with a sprinkling of chia seeds, sometimes topping with maple syrup and teaming with waffle slices (frozen from previous batches and reheated in the toaster or oven).
A somewhat decadent breakfast adapted to be a weekday favourite.
5 – Porridge
Ok so I am not lighting anyones fire with porridge eaten for centuries am I? But how could I emit such a classic staple especially on those cold mornings or ones where we really need to fuel up for the busy day ahead.
In contrast to the whole rolled oats we use for overnight oats, I always use quick oats (no added nasties) as who really has the time to stand for hours when people just want to be fed? Plus with allergies and preferences in this house I invariably have multiple pans on the go. I always throw in a handful of chia seeds or some ground seeds to up the nutritional content before cooking too.
We serve topped with fruit (no surprise there) or sometimes throw some frozen fruit at the bottom of the bowl (helps to cool it quicker for little mouths too) and some maple syrup and nuts.
6 – Pastries
Possibly the most indulgent of them all.
Whether that is shop bought or home made (and by home made I mean Jus Rol pastry and home made fillings. Either almond paste, or our personal favourite maple and pecan) pastries will always go down well and sometimes you just need a treat. Serve with fruit and you can start everyones day off right.
7 – Waffles
I make both vegan and non vegan waffles in a batch using my waffle maker, freeze them, warm them up in the toaster or the oven and hey presto, a usually time consuming breakfast reserved for lazy weekend days and special occasions served in minutes and achievable even, on a week day.
We serve them with fruit (naturally) and sometimes dark chocolate chips which melt onto the waffle if you are quick enough, and a sprinkling of snow like icing sugar. Yum.
8 – Pancakes
For us this is one served mostly on shrove Tuesday, a lazy weekend, half term or for dessert. Pancakes are quite the faff aren’t they? And create far too much clearing up for my liking. But of course, totally worth it.
The vegan pancakes we make are more like American style and then we go for the classic flat crêpe style. We even have a pancake pan which does make the whole process a lot easier. My favourite is the timeless lemon and sugar, Eddy loves Nutella and banana (or you could emit the banana entirely to be honest and he wouldn’t notice) and the girls load it with fruit or golden syrup for the ultimate sugar rush start to the day.
9 – Mushrooms or Beans on toast
If you asked Roma what her favourite meal was she would without a doubt say beans on toast. She would eat it for every meal every day given the choice I am sure! I must admit this is also not a mid week breakfast I make mainly due to the washing up I guess but I definitely could and probably should to mix up the whole fruit vibe. Maybe I am stuck in my breakfast ways more than I thought writing this! But a weekend breakfast of beans and avocado on toast or baked mushrooms cannot be wrong can it?
Can I also suggest crumpets as a base too. Toasted twice of course and topped with marmite for extra taste and b vitamins.
10 – Full Veggie/Vegan breakfast
I am talking mushroom, tomatoes, avocado, wilted spinach, hash browns, maybe a cheeky poached egg, all served with toast and a cup of your favourite hot drink. Step over pastries we might have a winner for the ultimate breakfast after all.
Maybe it’s the variety and enabling the children to choose from the list but it is always a crowd pleaser here. Except for the person to clear up, for them, maybe not so much!
There you have it, our breakfast go to and what a way to start the day. I would love to hear if you have any more suggestions as I have to say a dull breakfast is not the one!
So, how do you start the day?